Don’t break what isn’t broken, they would tell you, but it is perhaps time to relook the Six Nations Championship to make it a special tournament.
Italy’s defeat, their 19th consecutive defeat, at the hands of what was effectively a Wales second team, does the integrity of the competition little justice. It is underlined by the fact that only two of those defeats were by less than double figures.
Yes, it does help World Rugby in its cause of expanding the game and it does give Italian rugby lovers two and in alternative seasons three matches at home against the best that Europe has to offer.
But how does one argue away the fact that Italy have been found wanting once again and lost by 15-26 on their home turf with 10 of the Wales players rested ? It was their 11th straight defeat by the Welshmen in a match where Italy, like Wales, scored two tries but never looked like winning as they played catch-up from 0-12 after penalties conceded under pressure in their own territory.
With matches against big guns Ireland, England and France ahead, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will largely face near second teams from those four as well. On the up side, that would give the better sides a chance to rest some of their top players.
Italy (10) 15: Tries: Braam Steyn, Edoardo Padovani. Conversion: Tommy Allan. Penalty: Allan.
Wales (12) 26: Tries: Josh Adams, Owen Watkin. Conversions: Dan Biggar, Gareth Anscombe. Penalties: Biggar (4).